The Dr. Frank C. Craighead, Sr. Archaeological Laboratory

A Key Attraction at the Collier County Museum in Naples

The Dr. Frank C. Craighead, Sr. Laboratory

The Craighead Laboratory is a key attraction and education area for children and adults. A pioneer environmentalist, Dr. Frank Cooper Craighead, Sr., devoted much of his life's work to the study and preservation of Florida's natural resources and beauty. Craighead began his career in 1910 as a forest entomologist with the US Department of Agriculture. He made his first visit to South Florida in 1915 to investigate disease caused by beetles in pine trees and developed an immediate interest in the region's abundant plant and wildlife.

Dr. Craighead retired as Chief of Forest Entomology and moved to Homestead , Florida , in 1956. For the next 22 years, he studied South Florida's ecology and natural sciences for the Everglades National Park and National Geographic Society. He and his wife, Carolyn, moved to Naples in 1968. 

A leading authority on Florida's native plants and water resources, Dr. Craighead's scientific research, publications and personal dedication contributed to a growing national concern for the preservation of the Everglades and South Florida's wetlands. In 1976, Governor Reubin Askew officially honored Dr. Craighead as the “Scholar of the Everglades ” and joined the Collier County Commission in proclaiming November 16th as “Dr. Frank C. Craighead, Sr. Day.”

His field laboratory was moved to the Collier County Museum grounds and restored in 1987. It was dedicated on November 16, 1992 by Carolyn Johnson Craighead, and is open to the public and used by scholars and students on a regular basis. The Craighead Archaeological Laboratory is operated and staffed by members of the Southwest Archaeological Society (SWFAS) to process and archive archaeological material from local sites.